Catching Alligators with my Kids

in Pinmapple2 years ago

What!? Who does this? Well, I grew up catching alligators with my dad in the marshes of Savannah, GA. Now I have little kids of my own, but we live in Vermont and Hawaii.... so no alligators around. That is until we visit my dad back in Savannah! So what would any father do in this situation... well, keep his kids up late, take them out into the marsh, and show them how to catch alligators of course!

First let me explain. We do not harm or kill the alligators. My father figured out a way to catch them, tag them, and release them in a very humane way (without hurting them.) Education is also a huge part of what he does. Nowadays, there are many people moving into houses right at the edge of the water. So there are more and more people living close to alligators. Usually they are very afraid for their small dogs and their small kids. So we want to educate them about peacefully coexisting with local wildlife, alligators included. So we take them out in canoes, show them how to catch an alligator, and them (after taping the mouth shut with electric tape), let them take pictures with the gators. After touching and holding and learning about these amazing creatures, they are much less likely to want to kill them. Knowledge is power.

So this is what I wanted to share with my 4 year old and 3 year old. Actually, my 4 year old had already been out gatoring with me once when she was 2. She was very proud telling this to her younger brother.

We prepared all of our alligator catching stuff, and headed off after nightfall. We use a powerful headlight connected to a car battery to search the waters for eye shines. When you shine a light at wildlife during the night, the reflective material in their eyes glow bright red or green. This is how we spot the alligators. It also helps in catching them. If you hold the spotlight on them very steady, then they freeze, almost like a deer caught in the headlights. We then have a long pole with a slipknot at the end which we carefully slide over their head. When it is around their neck we pull up, the knot cinches down, and the alligator is caught!

We didn't have much success at first this night, even though we saw a lot of alligators. We did manage to catch a huge bull frog which the kids really enjoyed. As we were headed home we struck gold, and noosed a three and a half footer! The kids watched in awe and my dad and I handled the alligator, taped its mouth shut, then educated them about all the parts of the animal. The kids got to touch it, and they agreed, it was like touching a dinosaur.

After all the excitement of catching and releasing the alligator, the kids were nearly falling asleep. So we headed back to their comfy beds to dream about alligator catching. I don't think they realize how unique an experience this really is.

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Three generations of alligator catchers. I'm glad that I can pass on this very unique knowledge to my kids... and my love for nature.

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My dad and my son checking one of the golf course ditches for gators and frogs.

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Eli with his own big catch.. a bull frog.

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Can you imagine what is feels like to hold a living dinosaur? This is it.

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In the end we take the tape off the mouth, show off the teeth, and then carefully place the gator back in the water.

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Passing on my knowledge to the next generation.

I hope you enjoyed coming along with me on this unique experience. It was so special to share it with my kids and my dad. Nature is a pretty amazing classroom.

-Dai Mar

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OMG! From what I've seen in documentaries, I'm terrified of crocodiles. I've never been as close to them as you are, and frankly, I don't want to be. But you are a master at this job, congratulations. very nice photos

Thanks Hilal, I love changing peoples perspectives about different animals, from sharks to alligators to sea slugs!

Now this is something you do not read everyday! That's how your raise kids who aren't afraid to hold the world by the horns and ride life out for all its rough and tumbles. Looks like lots of fun, brought back memories of catching crabs on the beach with my family at night during a certain time of year!

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Catching crabs you say?

That is great that you are sharing this with your children. The picture of all three generations is so great!

You're kids are so brave, I'd be petrified to catch alligators because I just don't like touching animals, even cats and dogs ( yes I'm such a chicken!!)

I also want to drop by to say your content is awesome and thanks for posting in the Pinmapple community all the time. However it often pains me to see they're more photography rather than travel focused (not that I personally mind). Every community curator work to certain guidelines according to their community niche, like this post it would have been perfect for say, the Amazing Nature community or even the Family and Friends community.

Don't get me wrong,I'm not saying don't do photography posts because that's your strength. All I'm saying is post your post in the appropriate community. If it's photography, Photography Lovers or Photography DAC would be good, wildlife nature in Amazing Nature, and for travel of course please come to Pinmapple. That way you can get the most support as the curators will be looking for content that fits with their community niche. Sometimes all you need is to tweak the the angle a little to make it fit.

Hope this helps ( sorry I know you didn't ask for it) and hope to continue see your travel content in Pinmapple! We love it!

Very impressive the truth without words, it shows that you are an expert in this.